Yay 2012: Thumbs Up!

The myriad forms that excellence took in 2012:

How is it already 2013?

How is it already 2013?

Borderlands 2 – My pick for game of the year. While maybe not the most technically daring or graphically beautiful, it’s the game I had the most fun playing this year. Handsome Jack may be a Hall of Fame villain. I sure hope Butt Stallion is ok.

LA Noire – Yeah it’s old, but I just got around to playing it this year during the Summer Gaming Drought of ’12. This game indirectly contributed to my subsequent non-playing of Sleeping Dogs.

Black Ops 2 Multiplayer – the Pick 10 system was a welcome change to multiplayer this year, allowing for greater class flexibility.  Also nice: Prestige’ing doesn’t reset all of your progress!

Portal 2 – (see LA Noire)

The Walking Dead – both the game from Telltale Games game & AMC’s third season. TTG did a masterful job with it’s Walking Dead game; cannot wait for season 2, whenever that’s slated to hit.  Every chapter had at least one holy shit moment (and I’m only on chapter 3!). Season 3 of AMC’s The Walking Dead was surprisingly strong as well, as I’d all but given up on the series after the Sophia/Farm heavy second season.  When in the HELL does Rick get his trusty hatchet?

The Avengers – best superhero movie of the year. Spider-what? Dark Who? I want to see a buddy movie with Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner & RD Jr’s Tony Stark. But only if it has at least once scene where the Hulk throws a bear

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Marvel NOW –  I stll have no idea what the deal is with Marvel Now. A reboot? A renumbering? A sales trick? What I DO know is that Marvel’s ratcheted up its game (possibly due to the New 52) and is churning out very, very strong series especially Thor God of Thunder, Indestructible Hulk, The Avengers, Uncanny Avengers & All New X-Men.  Leading me to…

Hawkeye – comic of the year? Perhaps. Fraction/Aja/Hollingsworth’s take on the character make him a compelling everyman that bounces between outwitting Marvel’s arch criminals to defending his NYC apartment building from a horde of Russian bros. Doesn’t sound like your bag? Trust me, it is. Check it out.

Ski Safari – I have a bad habit of bying mobile games, playing them for a day or so and then moving on. So far, Ski Safari has not only kept my attention but actively looking forward to the commute to/from work so I can play it. I hate skiing but I love doing monster backflips on a yeti. If you feel the same, pick it up.

Rawrs Shirts – the first & third best thing I bought at New York Comic Con this year. Cool designs on shirts that fit great.

Comic Con 2012’s poster orgy – The second & fourth best things I bought were from Mondo. Plus a totally sweet Thanos/War of the Gems poster from Capcom. Plus this:

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Saturday Night in Atlantic City – bachelor party shenanigans & a solid 6 hour of poker.

Finally getting rid of my shit iPhone4 – you suck bro and I’m glad you’re gone.  

Very Near Mint & Double Barrel – Not going to lie: I’m not an indie comics guy.  I’m just not. But I took a chance on VNM at NYCC ’12 and on Double Barrel on the advice of the CEO of comiXology and I’m glad I did.  I actually went back to NYCC to pick up additional copies of VNM.  Both are worth at least taking a look at.  And since the first few issues of DB are like $.99 on comiXology, definitely worth the expense. Just buy them already.

Max Payne -a great surprise. This was more of an impulse purchase, as I’d never played the first two. But Rockstar’s been on such a roll lately, I thought it would definitely be worth it  The single player was great, standouts being the first level and any of the levels running around in the Brazillian favelas. What really shocked me though was the multiplayer. If there’s one thing that’s already bothered me about Rockstar games, it’s that their multiplayer efforts seem kind of tacked on and frankly not very good. I didn’t get that from MP3 at all; the level designs were top notch, the game modes were all interesting spins on established multiplayer staples, the weapons seemed balanced, and the customization’s were pretty fun (I love dress up, shut up).

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Booo 2012: Four Thumbs Down!

The myriad forms that crapulence took in 2012:

Thumbs Down(1)

Black Ops 2 campaign – WHO are these people again? WHY do I care? Oh, right…I don’t. Negative bonus points for shoehorning in that RTS nonsense a third of the way through (though glad I could skip it).

Sleeping Dogs – What the hell, guy? I really wanted to like this game.  But for whatever reason (possibly because I played it right after LA Noire) the ugliness of the people was a real turn off and the story wasn’t enough to grab me.  Wasn’t all bad though! The driving was really solid; Rockstar take note!

The Dark Knight Rises – My expectations were too high, of course. Everyone’s were.  How could they not be after Dark Knight? Still.  I tried to watch it a second time and just couldn’t do it. Granted, I was trying to watch it on a 4″ screen on a plane, so that may have colored my perception a bit. The Bane outtakes are decent though

No time – to play Dishonored or Far Cry 3 or to give Sleeping Dogs a fair shake or to spend more time with the Mechromancer in Borderlands 2 or …

Spider-man 700 – that’s  a big ol’ WTF to Marvel & Dan Slott over this one. I’m not trying to be cynical here but…there’s no way this sticks. No way.

The end of The Defenders – biggest downer of the year (and I read both Underwater Welder AND Essex County). How could a series that started off with such a powerfully interesting hook turn into such a nonsensical mess so quickly?  Infuriating.

NY Comic Con Pro Badge uselessness – if you’re going to let in every other chump at the same time as the Pros, what’s the point of the Pro badge? I demand special treatment!

Sunday Morning in Atlantic City – ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooh…………..my head.

Losing half my stack with pocket kings – So in addendum to the above….I was in a poker tournament in AC and after about 5 hours, was the clear chip leader at the final table. 9 people left, including me.  Pre-flop, the guy in second place pushes all-in. I have pocket kings and have beaten this guy up all night.  Why wouldn’t I go in?  So we flip and he has Ace – four. I’ve got him beat, right? WRONG. Jerk hits an ace on the flop and I see zero kings. I was out 3 hands later (equally disastrous hands: post flop I was on a straight, flush & straight flush draw, none of which I hit = lost 1/2 stack. Ace 10 suited I go all in, lose to pocket 4’s.) 5th place ain’t bad, but when I was looking at first…not great.

Mass Effect 3 – I’m sure this is heresy, but I’ve always been underwhelmed by Mass Effect.  Being a Sony guy, I never played the first one, but that shouldn’t curtail my enjoyment of the series THAT much. When it comes right down to it, I don’t particularly care about games set in space (with the obvious exception of Ratchet & Clank). Maybe if I’d realized my Space Bastard plans from the beginning I would’ve liked it more. Also, what was up with that multiplayer? Max Payne 3 multiplayer = unexpectedly good & fun. Mass Effect 3 multiplayer = unexpectedly bad & super unfun.

John Dies at the End – I WANTED TO LIKE THIS MOVIE SO BAD. I loved the book; so clever and funny and weird, it totally struck a cord.  Then I heard it was being turned into a movie and Paul Giamatti was involved, it seemed to good to be true…and then I watched it last night. UGH.  What a mess.  Chase Williamson (as protagonist David Wong) looks like he’s just smelled a monster fart before every scene. Rob Mayes (as partner in crime John) is a good-looking dolt. Everyone else is just window dressing. The climax of the movie, which takes up about the last third of the book, takes up about 10 minutes of the film. It’s rushed and you can tell.  What a bummer.

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